A NEW man has been appointed to lead a group of North Yorkshire churches.

The Reverend Martin Allwood has come to Ryedale from Africa, via north Suffolk.

Born in Swaziland in 1971, he moved to South Africa at a young age. He took a degree in Agricultural Horticulture in Natal, before coming to the UK in 2001.

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And on January 29 he will become the vicar of Amotherby, Appleton-le-Street, Barton-le-Street, Coneysthorpe, Hovingham, Scackleton, and Slingsby.

“I bring a wealth of experience from life across two continents, much of which has been gained in rural areas,” he said.

“I have been drawn to the beauty that is Yorkshire, particularly in its similarity to some of the South African countryside I grew up in - although there’s more rain here.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will institute the new vicar in All Saints' Church, Hovingham, at 7.30pm on January 29. The previous incumbent for the six parishes, the Reverend Beryl Bowes, retired in 2012.